Last week NARF joined the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), and the Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA) in submitting written comments to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) regarding its Guidelines for state courts in Indian child custody proceedings.

The stated purpose of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is “to protect the best interest of Indian Children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families by the establishment of minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children and placement of such children in homes which will reflect the unique values of Indian culture.” 25 U.S.C. § 1902.  ICWA provides states guidance regarding the handling of child abuse and neglect and adoption cases involving Native children, and it sets minimum standards for the handling of these cases.  BIA’s Guidelines were first published in 1979 to provide guidance to state courts about ICWA’s important requirements.  The BIA currently is receiving feedback on whether its Guidelines need to be revised.

The comments submitted by NICWA, NCAI, NARF, and AAIA can be found here.

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